What is the best Mario game ever? Where do you even start ranking them? Let’s face it, any game in the top 10 could justifiably take the top spot. They could all easily become someone’s ‘best game of all time’, and there will always be people who believe that the series peaked with The Lost Levels. It’s an opinion you’re entitled to!
Ranking all of these classics is an inexact science, but we here at Nintendo Life debated, laid out our own personal cases of this or that item, and offered a definitive compromise that we were all satisfied with. Yes, of course, there are personal favorites that some of us would like to see lifted higher, but democracy has given us a beautiful list, regardless.
This is only for mainstream Super Mario players (both 2D and 3D), so you won’t see any side-games or sports titles. We’ve also excluded Yoshi’s Island, even though it’s the official title, for the same reason Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 isn’t available either. Both games are spin-offs, minus the titles, which are clearly not in the Super Mario division.
You can check out our picks for the Best Zelda Games and Best Pokémon Games elsewhere, but without further ado, we present our list of the best Super Mario Games…
TOP 20 Best Super Mario Games Of All Time
1. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Super Mario Odyssey is the most varied, expressive, creative, and diverse 3D Mario game Nintendo has ever made. Huge mix of ideas, art style, and game mechanics that really shouldn’t go together. On paper, the surreal colors of Luncheon Kingdom simply don’t match the pseudo-realism of New Donk City or the many other destinations the plumber marks on his trip around the world. its own, but Nintendo somehow made it work with the absolute quality of every component.
With Cappy you can own enemies and NPCs – some characters can’t jump, others can attack and defeat enemies, some can fly or run very fast, while others can Others do almost nothing. There’s a game abandonment joy that carries over to every kingdom you visit, with lots of distractions and things to explore, but it’s never overwhelming – it’s simply enjoyable. Whether you’re hunting for the Moon or trying on costumes, it all comes together to make the best Super Mario game.
We don’t envy the designers who have to come up with Mario’s next game, but if Odyssey continues to evolve, anything is possible.
2. Super Mario World (SNES)
Super Mario World builds on and improves upon the already excellent formula that Nintendo created with three (technically four) previous games, using the power of Super Nintendo for stunning 2D visuals. pretty. It also introduces flight with the Cape and an expansive underground world with secret exits, meaning you can take different paths in the game.
Mario teamed up with Yoshi here for the first time, giving the plumbers the ability to survive new scenarios and explore a world even richer than ever before. Super Mario World is pretty much as good as Mario 2D ever was, and you have that to experience the game any way you can.
3. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy brought the plumber to the final frontier and let him roam the intergalactic to collect Power Stars. These galaxies are made up of planets and structures with which Mario can move between planets and gravity allows him to move on top, below and around planets with a degree of freedom. almost feels as refreshing as his first 3D prison break in Super Mario 64.
The big new feature in Galaxy is the Star Pointer. Using this, you can pick up objects, shoot them at enemies, move obstacles, and interact with the environment. Mario can also perform Spin by shaking the Wii Remote, allowing him to stun enemies, shatter objects, and trigger a variety of projectiles. Super Mario Galaxy is an incredibly fun ride through space that raises the question of where the plumber might be next. Play on Switch, play on Wii, play on Wii U – just make sure you play.
4. Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
To put it as simply as possible, Super Mario Maker 2 could be the last Mario 2D game you’ll ever need. This is the original game but there’s more to it: enemies, themes, game style, gizmos, powers, Story mode with an actual story, multiplayer… list of additional gubbins really huge when you take a step back. The sheer fun and unbridled freedom offered here takes the baton from the very beginning before jumping three times as far.
Free updates and tweaks to the formula mean that the game has evolved since release just as the original did, with Ninji Speedruns and various new elements added to the Mario toy box this expansion. For any Mario fan who owns a Switch – heck, for any Switch owner – buying this game is an absolute necessity.
5. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Galaxy game fans often argue over which of the two is better. They really are great companions, but we’ll go with the first one simply because Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an expansion based on the original concept.
It expands the possibilities of creativity and turns the colored dial to a stupid eleventh. Here’s Nintendo tearing down the rule book and gluing it together in engaging, surprising ways, strengthening its strong and confident creative muscles after the first game, with its many environments and obstacles, plus Yoshi and a bunch of new power-ups. It was a wonderful time.
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